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Is Duglas Durst Fighting Barry Diller’s Floating Park on the Hudson River?



Media mogul Barry Diller and his wife fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg’s futuristic Pier 55 park project on the Hudson River is deep in a legal fight with City Club of New York .

The Hudson River Park Trust approved plans for a pier to extend into the river off 13th Street, with three theater production sites nearby.

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The mega project mainly financed by Diller in partnership with the Hudson River Park Trust.

But City Club of New York group has sued to stop the construction on various grounds, including the failure of Diller’s Pier55 nonprofit and the Trust to conduct a full environmental impact study.

According to a New York Times report, the City Club a “little-known civic group founded in 1892 that was all but dead a few yers ago” has concerns that might extend beyond the environment — even beyond the West Side views. Instead, the report suggests, it seems as if another really rich person may have stumbled on a way to nurse a grudge via the legal system.

Diller told the New York Times “The backer of all this is one Douglas Durst.” Durst, the New York real-estate scion and Robert Durst‘s brother, who has declined to say whether he’s involved. He replied to the Times by saying, “I do not like the process or the project and I am in favor of the litigation.”

Barry Diller rendering of pier55-02.w710.h473.2x


So, Diller concluded that Durst was the one behind Pier 55 legal challenges. Why? Douglas Durst was a one-time board chairman of the Friends of Hudson River Park, which raises money for the Hudson River Park Trust. This organization is now partner with Diller. Durst,  major donor of the organization and a few more members of board were forced out, after they sought to change its fundraising strategy.

Soon after Durst left in 2011, the talks over the renovation of the crumbling Pier 54 started. In the fall of 2014,  plans for the new floating 2.4-acre park Pier 55 were announced. According to the partenership between Diller and Hudson River Park Trust Diller pledged $130 million of the total $170 million project price. (The Hudson River Park Trust and the city would pick up the rest of the tab, though costs have now risen to $200 million.)

Read the full story at New York Times by Chales V. Bagli




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